OFF THE WIRE
AMA News & Notes - November 2011
AMA News & Notes is a monthly publication compiled and edited by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Government Relations Department. Designed to inform motorcyclists of rights-related issues and events around the world, AMA News & Notes welcomes your input. Suggestions and editorial contributions can be sent to AMA Western States Representative Nick Haris by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Washington D.C.: Former two-term U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard of Colorado has joined the AMA as vice president for government relations. Allard, who represented Colorado during three terms in Congress and two terms in the U.S. Senate from 1991 to 2009, said he is looking forward to his new role.
Born and raised in Colorado, Allard has a long history of serving the people of that state and of the nation, first as a member of the state Senate from 1983 to 1991, then as a congressman from 1991 to 1997 and finally as a U.S. senator from 1997 to 2009.
While in the Senate, Allard was a co-sponsor of the James Peak Wilderness Bill that created a 14,000-acre Wilderness area around the 13,294-foot-high James Peak Mountain in Colorado. The legislation followed the federal definition of Wilderness established by Congress in 1964, addressed the concerns of a variety of stakeholders while at the same time preserving property, water and other rights, and ultimately protected land crucial to Colorado's watershed.
Source and full story: www.americanmotorcyclist.com/news/11-09-21/Former_U_S_senator_joins_AMA_as_vice_president_for_government_relations.aspx
Ontario, Calif.: Recently, leaders from many of the California OHV groups met with representatives from the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) and other members of the Twentynine Palms base expansion committee. The purpose of the meeting was to engage in a dialog and get a status update regarding the Draft Environmental Impact Study (DEIS).
According to a USMC spokesperson, the final base expansion EIS is scheduled for release in January 2012. A response to previously received public comments will be included in the Final EIS. Barring any significant challenges or related delays, the Final Record of Decision is expected by April 2012. From there, the EIS will be submitted to the U.S. Department of the Interior and then it must be submitted to, and approved by, Congress. No estimated time frame for those actions was provided.
Sacramento, Calif.: Recently, the AMA testified before a U.S. House subcommittee about difficulties related to holding motorcycling events on U.S. Forest Service land.
The AMA testified that restrictions and requirements for special events, as well as the increasing costs of obtaining special use permits, are creating hardships. The AMA also said that riders have felt left out of the processes for developing new travel management plans for public land, and are frustrated that established routes have been omitted from travel management route maps.
The field hearing was convened by the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands to investigate ongoing issues with the management of the nation’s national forests as well as to attempt to identify potential administrative or legislative remedies to address obstacles to the multiple use of public land.
Besides the AMA, other panel members included representatives from the Forest Service, state and local officials and citizens. To view testimony and an archived webcast of the hearing, go to http://naturalresources.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=258843
Sacramento, Calif.: California Highway Patrol (CHP) officials say they believe their two-year motorcycle safety campaign, which recently ended, has helped reduce injury and fatality rates. The federally funded campaign, "Look Twice, Save a Life," was designed to increase drivers' awareness of motorcyclists on the road.
Preliminary 2010 CHP statistics show the number of people killed in motorcycle-involved collisions was down 9 percent from the previous year. The number of injuries was down 8.5 percent.
The campaign focused on educating car and truck drivers about how difficult it is to see motorcyclists. The grant paid for message signs on state highways which read: "Share the road - Look twice for motorcyclists."
Source and full story: www.chp.ca.gov/pdf/media/11-28.pdf
Boston: In October, 15 insurance companies that had settled with the state attorney general for allegedly overcharging policy holders began refunding nearly $40 million in excessive motorcycle insurance premiums. The attorney general alleged that the companies had based premiums on inflated motorcycle values. Any riders who bought comprehensive and/or collision insurance on a motorcycle after January 2002 may be entitled to a refund. For more information see Motorcycle.ago.state.ma.us/motorcycle_insurance/process_request.action.
Source and full story: www.wwlp.com/dpp/news/Insurance-refund-for-motorcycle-riders
Lansing, Mich.: House Bill 4885, sponsored by Rep. Paul Opsommer (R-DeWitt), would prohibit the state, any agency of the state, or any political subdivision of the state from imposing a vehicle-miles-traveled tax, mileage-based user fee, global-positioning-satellite-based toll, or similar program that would allow the locational tracking of a private motor vehicle or its users. Also, the state and its political subdivision would also be prohibited from accepting any grants or fund to implement a pilot project for such a program.
Bloomington, Minn.: The Cheaha Trail Riders in Talladega County, Ala., earned the “Club of the Year” award for 2011 by the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) at the national organization’s annual meeting in Minneapolis. This AMA-chartered club was selected for their work on OHV safety and education, along with promoting the building of new OHV trail systems.
The club is a family-oriented group formed in 1988 that has members from Alabama, Georgia and Florida. The club quickly became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and hosts an annual Make-A-Wish charity event. This year's fundraiser will be held at TOP Trails in Talladega County on Saturday, Oct. 29.
Source and full story: www.cheahatrailriders.com/club-minutes.html
Bloomington, Minn.: AMA members Karen and Tom Umphress were presented with Motorcycle Industry Council Chairman’s Awards at the 2011 National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council’s (NOHVCC) Annual Meeting in Minneapolis.
Now in its sixth year, the NOHVCC award honors groups and individuals who have made special contributions of time and effort to preserve, protect and promote the powersports community.
Source and full story: www.mic.org/news092611.cfm
Lincoln, Neb.: The Abbott Motocross Facility, which hit multiple snags during its planning, development and construction, has officially opened to the public after a delay of more than a year.
Officials from the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Lancaster County and the Federal Highway Administration recently took part in a ribbon cutting at the track on October 8. The facility is a joint venture between the private Abbott Sports Complex and government entities.
For more information visit www.abbottsports.com/motocross/motocross.php
Columbus, Ohio: Motorcycle handlebars could be any height as long as the height doesn’t adversely affect the ability of the operator to operate the motorcycle safely under House Bill 316, introduced by Rep. Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville). The current handlebar height restriction is no more than 15 inches above the seat or saddle of the operator.
Pickerington, Ohio: Utilize AMA public service announcements (PSAs) featuring AMA Board member and actor Perry King. The print, video and audio PSAs are available free to the media and the public to distribute and promote. The PSAs address impaired riding, excessive motorcycle exhaust sound, the importance of the proper safety gear, and responsible and safe off- highway riding. They also deliver an important message to drivers to watch for motorcyclists on the road. To access the PSA messages, visit: www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Rights/Resources/PublicServiceAnnouncements.aspx.
Pickerington, Ohio: The on- and off-highway motorcycle sound resources page has been revamped on the AMA website. This includes information about Sound Advice, a document that addresses the excessive motorcycle sound issue, a video explanation of how to sound test a motorcycle, model legislation and more.
Since its inception in 1924, the AMA has maintained a position of strong opposition to excessive motorcycle sound. The AMA has funded information and public relations campaigns in support of quieter motorcycle use, and was the world’s first motorsports sanctioning body to regulate and reduce the sound level of racing vehicles.
Source and full story: www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Rights/SoundAdvice.aspx
Harrisburg, Pa.: Senate Bill 1232, sponsored by Sen. Timothy J. Solobay (D-Canonsburg), would modify the definition of a motorcycle by allowing the addition of two stabilizing wheels on the rear of the motor vehicle. Currently, a motorcycle is defined as a motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground.
Rapid City, S. D.: There are now 10 miles of new motorcycle-only trails for advanced riders in the Black Hills National Forest, thanks to the efforts of volunteers and U.S. Forest Service workers. They just finished marking and posting signs at the trials.
In addition, the forest Service now has a motorcycle trail dozer that was donated, in part, by Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., that can be driven or operated remotely. Officials said the dozer will be used to open more single-track motorcycle trails and maintain existing trails.
Motor vehicle use maps (MVUM) are available for the 1.2 million-acre Black Hills National Forest online or at any of the forest’s offices. The MVUM also displays allowed uses by vehicle class, seasonal restrictions, distance allowances, and provides information on other travel rules and regulations.
Source and full story: http://blackhillsportal.com/npps/story.cfm?id=4361
Tooele County, Utah: The federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has issued a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) regarding the effects of a mining operation adjacent to the famed Bonneville Salt Flats time trial area. The AMA and other groups concerned about the quality of the salt flats racing surface are working together through the Save the Salt Coalition. Visit http://www.savethesalt.org/ for more information on the efforts to preserve this important area.
Tacoma, Wash.: The state appellate court has affirmed the state’s decision to re-allocate $9.5 million of off-road vehicle gas tax funds in 2009 to state parks instead of the Nonhighway and Offroad Vehicle Activities (NOVA) account. The ruling was made in a lawsuit filed by the Washington Off-Highway Vehicle Alliance (WOHVA) against the state.
The court said: “The decision to create a program as well as whether and to what extent to fund it is strictly a legislative prerogative.” Additionally, the court justified the reallocation of NOVA funds by explaining that since some of the NOVA fund spending benefits non-motorized recreationalists, the appropriation to state parks is an acceptable use of off-road vehicle gas tax money.
The WOHVA and the Northwest Motorcycle Association plan to appeal the decision to the state’s supreme court.
Visit http://www.wohva.org/ for more information on this important decision.